Man is jailed for threat to 'take head off' detective
A MAN who threatened to "take the head off" a Criminal Assets Bureau detective with a slash hook has been sentenced to three years in prison with 12 months suspended.
Christopher Pratt (34), of Ballyvolane Halting Site, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making the menacing phone call to Det Gda Philip Galvin on July 27, 2011.
The court heard the officer had been leading a CAB investigation into Pratt's family at the time he received the call at the bureau's headquarters in Dublin.
Det Sgt Kieran Goulding told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that Pratt shouted down the phone: "Is that you Galvin? I have a slash hook for you, Galvin, and I'm going to take your head off."
He said Pratt also seemed to have a grievance with one of his own two brothers.
Det Sgt Galvin put Pratt on loudspeaker and two of his colleagues heard the threats made during the call, which lasted about three minutes.
Mr Carroll told the court that Det Gda Galvin was concerned by the threats, and that after the incident his security arrangements were changed and he was removed from direct contact with the Pratt family for a time.
The court heard that when questioned by gardai a few weeks later, Pratt accepted that he had phoned Det Gda Galvin but denied threatening him.
Pratt told gardai: "What would I need a slash hook for?" He added that he would not threaten "a law man", though he accepted he had been angry about the money that had been taken from his family.
The father of three later admitted uttering the threats, but made assurances that they would not be carried out.
Pratt has 95 previous convictions, including assault causing harm and ramming a patrol car in Dundalk last year.
The court heard he has a history of depression, chronic anxiety, self-harm and drug use and that he is "quite volatile and unstable".
Defence counsel James Dwyer BL said Pratt's body is "covered in scars" from where he has stabbed and burned himself, and he has also attempted to overdose several times.
He said Pratt had entered an early plea of guilty and had expressed remorse for misdirecting his own intense anger with his brother towards a detective with the CAB.
He added that Pratt had not interfered with the workings of the bureau in the year-and-a-half since the offence.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring said: "Gardai don't sign up to be threatened. I need not make any comment on the price they pay for doing their duties."
Pratt, who had been on bail, was sentenced to three years with the final 12 months suspended.
He was ordered to keep the peace for two years on his release and comply with probation services for 12 months.